Fourteen parents whose children were retained in third grade after they “opted out” of Florida’s standardized tests filed a lawsuit this week, saying their rights were violated by confusing standards that rely too much on a single exam.
The lawsuit says Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, the state Department of Education, the state Board of Education and several local school districts violated the families’ rights to due process and equal protection when deciding whether to allow certain students to move on to fourth grade.
But at the heart of the lawsuit is a clash over whether students are required to take the Florida Standards Assessments before moving on from third grade. The “opt out” movement is part of a larger backlash against standardized testing, with many parents feeling that the state is subjecting students to too many exams.
The lawsuit asks a Leon County court to block the decision to retain the students in the third grade, saying the children will be “irreparably harmed” if they are held back. It points to research showing that students who are held back become isolated and lose interest in school.
“The negative behaviors associated with retention are exacerbated here because each of the plaintiffs’ children received a report card with passing grades, some earning straight A’s and Honor Roll for their hard work throughout the school year, but yet they will be retained in the third grade despite having no reading deficiency,” the suit says.
Parents also asked for an emergency injunction from the court, saying many of them didn’t find out their students would be retained until May or June, and school is set to begin shortly. The districts named in the suit include Orange, Hernando, Osceola, Sarasota, Broward, Seminole and Pasco counties.
While the suit focuses on events in the 2015-2016 school year that led to some students being held back, it also more broadly challenges efforts to require students to take standardized tests before moving on to the fourth grade.
“Refusing to accept a student portfolio or report card based on classroom work throughout the course of the school year when there is no reading deficiency is arbitrary and irrational,” it says.
The complaint portrays state and local officials as struggling to come to terms with whether to accept portfolios of students’ work or the marks on report cards in lieu of test scores, particularly for students who essentially refused to complete the tests. As a result, students who opted out were allowed to move on without test scores in some cases, but not in others.
As late as February, according to notes from a telephone call with local superintendents attached to the complaint, Stewart was insisting that state laws allowing for student portfolios to be used in retention decisions did not create an opportunity for students to refuse to take the tests.
In late May, the complaint says, the Department of Education clarified its policy. According to a Tampa Bay Times report cited in the lawsuit, the agency said retention was a local decision, and a spokeswoman for the department said “we never said you must retain a student who doesn’t have an FSA score.”
The damage was already done, the lawsuit contends.
“By May 2016, it was too late for many school districts or schools to provide guidance to teachers on what was required for documentation of the student portfolio exemption,” it says. “Students at those schools that maintained a student portfolio throughout the school year relied upon the portfolio exemption to be promoted to the fourth grade, while those schools that did not had inadequate documentation to meet the portfolio exemption criteria.”
–Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida
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Thank God its about time some parents start standing up to this ridiculous system. Years ago my son was threatened to be held back even though he was an honor roll student got an A in Reading but sue to the fact he is not a good standardized test taker he did not do well. Let hope all standardized test get thrown out just as they were in Finland, which by the way has the top rated schools in the world.
Flagler County is just as bad. My son was kept back in third grade due these test. He failed the test by one question and Tallahassee would not let him move on to fourth grade even though we have medical documentation that these test are detrimental to his health (he has severe anxiety). We were informed that it is the law and that if you fail the test you fail the grade. He passed all his subjects and was on the A B Honor Roll. We were also told there is no opt out for theses test. What is the sense of the children being in school and getting grades if the only thing that is going to determine weather they pass or are retained is a state test? These test stress out the children! My boys went back to school yesterday and already on the first day back my son said they were talking about the state test…Really!? I mean come on it’s the first day! Get rid of these standardized test and start giving these children what they deserve, a proper education.
c’mon now, how hard is it to pass a test you know is coming? simply study and oh yeah parents, be a help not a hindrance…
It’s about time. Our kids are learning nothing but the test. It’s time to go back to teaching so kids can make it thru life.
As to “the voice says” the new way of doing this work most parents would have to go back to school to learn it. I would like to know how many kids dropped out of school last year because of this test? How many senior’s failed?
Why do schools even keep grades when in the end it all comes down to whether a student passes or fails one stupid test. My son had immense anxiety before taking this test or any other standardized test which ultimately hurt his performance. Some kids are better test takers than others its a fact. Schools should not be teaching towards these stupid test and concentrate on simply teaching our kids. Something is seriously wrong with American schools when we’re 1st in spending in the world yet 30th in performance.
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“Teachers and parents report that high-stakes tests lead to higher levels of anxiety and lower levels of confidence on the part of elementary students,” researchers explained in a 2005 study.Why standardized testing is unfair for poor students? ›
Many believe that scores serve as indicators of future success, but standardized tests fail to assess students in crucial areas such as creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, and artistic ability.What is the biggest issue with standardized testing? ›
The problem of standardized testing is that it has less to do with the development of kids and a lot more to do with funding, which starts at the top of the federal hierarchy. Schools rely on test scores and graduation rates to acquire the same, or better, federal funding for the next year.Why standardized testing doesn t help students? ›
Standardized tests don't accurately measure student learning and growth. Unlike standardized tests, performance-based assessment allows students to choose how they show learning. Performance-based assessment is equitable, accurate, and engaging for students and teachers.What are the psychological effects of standardized testing? ›
This can cause many mental issues as students are studying for long periods of time and stressing about a test. According to soeoline.com, “Standardized testing causes headaches, sleep problems, depression, anxiety, stress and attendance issues”. Standardized testing is also, in some cases, ineffective.What are the harms of standardized testing? ›
Teachers have also expressed that not only is standardized testing getting in the way of their teaching, but it has negative effects on their students such as poor self-confidence in low- scoring students, taking away student creativity, lowers student motivation, and test anxiety (Mulvenon, et al, 2005).What are cons against standardized testing? ›
- They are not Accurate Reflections of Student Ability.
- They Cause Stress.
- Teachers 'Teach to the Test'
- They Negatively Impact Student Self-Esteem.
- They Pose Barriers to Future Opportunities.
- They Disproportionately Favor White Students.
- Education is not a 'one-size-fits-all' situation.
- Standardized Tests are Not Comprehensive.
For example, the number of students who have the lowest test scores on standardized tests are disproportionately Black and male, and they are placed in special-education programs through standardized testing.What are ethical issues in standardized testing? ›
Standardized testing is often criticized for being discriminatory, in the sense that such tests reflect the quality of a student's education (i.e. the quality of their schooling, tutoring, etc.) instead of their personal knowledge.Who is accountable for student learning? ›
Teachers and administrators should be accountable for the progress of their students. Districts and states should be accountable for the professional development and support they provide teachers and schools to enable students to reach high standards.
- Any test will reflect a pupil's performance at a point in time, and this may be affected by factors such as tiredness or illness.
- Some pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) may be unable to access particular tests.
The two primary standardized tests used by colleges in the admissions process are the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the American College Testing test, or ACT.Do tests really help students learn? ›
Standardized exams can show student improvement over time by taking the same tests over time. In addition, student test scores can also be easily compared to each other to show changes in progress. Ensure that all educational stakeholders are held accountable.Why do teachers not like standardized testing? ›
Standardized test scores are often tied to important outcomes, such as graduation and school funding. Such high-stakes testing can place undue stress on students and affect their performance. Standardized tests fail to account for students who learn and demonstrate academic proficiency in different ways.What is the argument for standardized testing? ›
Proponents of standardized testing argue that some kind of examination outside of school curricula—which can vary widely by school district—can help an education system better compare students from very different backgrounds because all these students took the exact same test.What are the negative effects of standardized testing on students with disabilities? ›
When students with disabilities struggle with standardized testing, they may struggle with their self-esteem and question their abilities. The risk of dropping out of school goes up, especially if they can't pass a high-stakes test that is required for them to move on to the next grade level.Do standardized tests cause stress on students? ›
Stress and its effect on the brain might be one reason that students from low-income neighborhoods tend to fare worse on high-stakes tests. Children are affected by standardized testing, with some seeing their cortisol levels spike on testing days, and others seeing it drop, which might lead them to disengage.What are the psychological effects of too much testing? ›
Heightened test anxiety may affect 20 percent of school-aged children and 18 percent may experience milder forms of it. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that feelings of disappointment, anger, helplessness and fear are typical reactions to test anxiety.How does test anxiety affect students? ›
Students who have high expectations of themselves can struggle with test anxiety. These students can have a difficult time dealing with mistakes, or what they perceive as failure. This can result in students becoming overwhelmed during a test, causing their minds to freeze or go blank.Why standardized testing is flawed? ›
10. Standardized tests reduce the richness of human experience and human learning to a number or set of numbers. This is dehumanizing. A student may have a deep knowledge of a particular subject, but receive no acknowledgement for it because his or her test score may have been low.
- Social anxiety, general anxiety, test anxiety, or panic attacks.
- Family expectations or problems.
- Depression, lack of energy or motivation, hopelessness, being overwhelmed, low self-esteem, homesickness, loneliness.
- Relationship difficulties (emotional and physical aspects of intimate relationships)
Disadvantages of product standardization
When companies standardize products, they produce more of a smaller number of variations. This means that consumers have fewer choices between products, which may mean they end up purchasing something that doesn't meet all their needs or desires.
- Loss of Uniqueness. ...
- Loss of Responsiveness. ...
- Unsuited to Some Aspects of Business. ...
- Stifles Creativity and Response Time.
The main disadvantage to standardization is that it reduces the flexibility of a chain to cater for regional tastes and expectations.What are 3 examples of bias in testing? ›
A test can be identified as biased when one group's scores are predictably different compared to another group of test-takers. This can be prevented by understanding test bias, which include cultural bias, content bias, method bias, and item bias.What are the 3 examples of bias? ›
Three types of bias can be distinguished: information bias, selection bias, and confounding.What is bias examples for elementary? ›
For example, a bias exists where black people are thought to feel less pain, so doctors give them less medicine for pain. The same racial bias exists when people borrow money from a bank. White persons tend to pay less for loans for cars and homes than persons of other races. But not all racial biases are negative.What is unethical testing? ›
Unethical testing conduct results in the invalidation of test scores, improper assessment of student proficiency, loss of vital services for low performers, unfair advantage over colleagues, and professional discipline such as termination and loss of certification.What are three 3 main concerns of ethics in testing and assessment? ›
In considering the ethical issues involved in psychological testing, three areas seem to be of paramount importance: informed consent, confidentiality, and privacy.What are some examples of ethical standard violated? ›
Being unfit to practice. Improper management of patient records. Violation of state laws, federal laws, or regulatory rules. Failure to report violations or errors.
- Create a culture of trust and responsibility. ...
- Set high standards and clear expectations. ...
- Give students ownership of the learning process. ...
- Help students learn to self-assess their work. ...
- Connect the classroom to the home.
- Planning and preparing lessons. ...
- Encouraging student participation. ...
- Researching and developing new teaching materials. ...
- Research and implementing new teaching methods. ...
- Marking student work and recording performance. ...
- Setting assessments and overseeing examinations.
- Create a “just right” learning environment. ...
- Clear expectations. ...
- Have students take ownership of their learning. ...
- The self-assessment piece. ...
- Support families. ...
- Student, parent, and teacher conferences.
- Validity − The test has to be devised to measure what it claims to measure in order to be held as valid and usable.
- Reliability − This refers to the consistency of scores obtainedby an individual on the same test on two different occasions.
Owned and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), GRE is among the world's most difficult exams. The exam is administered both online and in person. As a standardized test, GRE measures the overall academic readiness of students who want to attend graduate school.What state has the hardest standardized tests? ›
New York tops list of states with most difficult tests.What state has the lowest standardized test scores? ›
- Delaware - 968.
- Rhode Island - 971.
- New Mexico - 976.
- Illinois - 981.
- Florida - 983.
- District of Columbia - 985.
- Idaho - 986.
- Michigan - 1000.
However, too much testing could lead to much pressure on students and teachers to learn and teach for a test, something that would take the joy out of the learning process.Do standardized tests measure intelligence? ›
Standardized tests are made to measure a student's intelligence; however, a person's intelligence should not be determined by how well they can score on a test. There are many factors that can go into a negative test score, one of the main ones being testing anxiety.What percent of students have test anxiety? ›
Test anxiety is a common occurrence in classrooms, affecting the performance of students from kindergarten through college, as well as adults who must take job- related exams. Estimates are that between 40 and 60% of students have significant test anxiety that interferes with their performing up to their capability.
This Information Capsule reviews research conducted on the unintended consequences of high-stakes testing programs, such as narrowing of the curriculum, higher levels of student test anxiety, and increased pressure on teachers.How does standardized testing cause stress for students? ›
Stress and its effect on the brain might be one reason that students from low-income neighborhoods tend to fare worse on high-stakes tests. Children are affected by standardized testing, with some seeing their cortisol levels spike on testing days, and others seeing it drop, which might lead them to disengage.What is the fallacy of standardized testing? ›
Yale psychologist Robert Sternberg makes the point that a major fallacy of standardized testing is the notion that “smart is fast” “Jumping into problems without adequate reflection,” says Sternberg, “is likely to lead to false starts and erroneous conclusions.Does standardized testing help or hurt students? ›
Standardized exams can show student improvement over time by taking the same tests over time. In addition, student test scores can also be easily compared to each other to show changes in progress.What are the negative effects of the No Child Left Behind Act? ›
NCLB created a school environment that is unnecessarily competitive and goes to extremes to punish schools that do not live up to these competitive standards. In addition, value added-assessment—basing teacher pay on performance—adds to the existing pressure teachers and principals already feel to raise test scores.What factors affect standardized testing? ›
Factors that impact or influence performance in a testing situation include client/patient/student factors, clinician factors, environmental factors, and those involving the actual testing process itself.What do teachers think about standardized testing? ›
Teachers have expressed frustration about the time it takes to prepare for and administer tests. Teachers may feel excessive pressure from their schools and administrators to improve their standardized test scores. Standardized tests measure achievement against goals rather than measuring progress.What is the causes of test anxiety and academic stress? ›
For many students, it can be a combination of things. Poor study habits, poor past test performance, and an underlying anxiety problem can all contribute to test anxiety. Fear of failure: If you connect your sense of self-worth to your test scores, the pressure you put on yourself can cause severe test anxiety.